{{{CJ}}} Hobgood looks like he’s seen a ghost.


“We need a truck and we need a chain — fast!” he blurts running into the main palapa. “C’mon! It’s almost dark.”

The Lassie imitation works. Dropping our dinners, within seconds four of us are in back of a four-wheel-drive Hi-lux trying to beat the sun to the bottom of Popoyo while CJ yells details from the bed.

“I parked low on those black shells,” the winded twin gasps through the window. “Figured it was best to run for help while the kids dug. When I left, the water was up to the bumper.”

Bouncing down the dirt path at max speed, our host JJ starts listing all of the times he’s sunk in the same sandy cemetery — “I’ve lost two trucks there actually” — and shakes his head while assorted scary images fill ours: visions of the Pacific sucking down a brand new {{{Toyota}}}; the resulting, catastrophic credit card bill; or worse — a bunch of scared teenagers screaming beneath the spinning tires of a two-ton {{{4×4}}}.


Wasn’t it supposed to be relaxing this year? No physical training. No laps. No mock heats for the kids who just spent the past week stressing and fighting and gouging their way through the NSSA Nationals. Now look: we’ve barely begun and our best hopefuls are already buried up to their axles, anxious that the Hobgood twins can rustle together the right tools to get ’em moving. Is this really the way to start a pro surfing training camp?

Come to think about it, maybe it is.

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